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TCM Articles  

Autumn and the change of season

Date Published: 11 May, 2017
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As the seasons change here on the Gold Coast, our bodies, especially our immune system, often struggle to adapt and we see in our acupuncture clinic an increase in colds and flus as well as conditions that are aggravated by the cold such as respiratory conditions and arthritis.

Autumn traditionally is the season of harvest. Our bodies begin to harvest and gather energy for the colder months and begin to move it down. Yang (masculine), which is dominant in summer, starts giving way to yin (feminine), which is dominant in winter. Autumn is the season for clearing any excess heat from the body and then starts warming it from the inside, in preparation for the colder months. This may sound contradictory, but summer heat zaps strength, whereas internal warmth supports strength. Autumn is also the season of wind. We feel the effect of wind on our skin by the dryness, and we feel its internal effects through the lungs by a dry cough.

A dry body is most commonly seen in autumn.  External signs of dryness include dry lips, dry skin, itchiness, wrinkles, a dry throat, dry cough, and constipation. Although dryness can show up any time of year depending on body type and diet, it can be exacerbated, or present itself in the autumn. Dryness often affects mainly the lung and its partner organ the large intestine. You will tend to see dry harsh coughs that may hang around for a while accompanied by constipation.

Autumn Foods

During autumn we need to eat foods that will moisten and clear the lungs, as well as support the digestive system.

Some tips:

  • Eat less salads & have more soups
  • Slow cook or steam your foods (this helps to support ‘yin’)
  • Add some salt (Himalayan or Celtic) as this helps against dryness & sends food down
  • Eat more sour foods (They are astringent, contracting and firming and help to strengthen the liver. They help with excessive sweating, sagging skin, bladder control, prolapsed conditions and diarrhea)

Foods to increase through autumn;

  • Sauerkraut
  • Sourdough bread
  • Yoghurt
  • Olives
  • Pineapple
  • Lemons & limes
  • Grapefruit
  • Adzuki beans
  • Apples
  • White fungus
  • Dark greens (eg bok choy)

Foods to reduce;

  • Excessive intake of cold drinks
  • Summer fruits (eg melons)
  • Salads

Traditionally the Chinese eat porridge for breakfast and soup for dinner during this period.

So this autumn we recommend, keeping warm and eat lots of warm, nourishing foods!

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